Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Rakhee daydreams about the ever-handsome Dharmendra in Blackmail (1973)

Blackmail (1973) is considered to be one of Vijay Anand’s most romantic directorial ventures. Starring Dharmendra and Rakhee, this film has all the ingredients to make a great Bollywood film: bogus science,  outrageous costumes, and of course, a memorable soundtrack. This album’s shining jewel is none other than “pal pal dil ke paas,” a beautiful expression of love that is remembered today for Kishore Kumar’s romantic and sensitive rendition.

To understand this song in context of the film, let’s take a look at a brief synopsis of the plot. Kailash (played by Dharmendra) is in charge of operating a power plant that provides electricity to homes across India. His quirky uncle Dr. Khurana (played by Madan Puri) is a scientist that is researching novel approaches to generating electricity via solar sources–how innovative for the 1970s! A local man named Mr. Mehta is unhappy about these advances because solar-powered energy is likely to put an end to his battery business. His business partner Jeevan (played by Shatrugan Sinha) is aware of Dr. Khurana’s research because he is a dear friend of Kailash.

Jeevan is set to marry Asha (played by Rakhee), Mr. Mehta’s daughter, but things change once Kailash unknowingly confesses his love for Asha to him. Taking advantage of this situation, Jeevan plans to get Kailash and Asha married so that he can eventually use Asha to get access to Dr. Khurana’s profitable “formula.” Jeevan arranges to meet Asha in a beautiful garden, but he sends Kailash in his place. They have a conversation about their dreams and hopes, and Asha warms up to the sincerity and purity of Kailash’s heart. In a bold move, Kailash hands over a packet of love letters he has written to Asha over the years to express his deepest desires, and he subsequently flees the scene to avoid embarrassment.

At this point in the film, we hear “pal pal dil ke paas,” song composed by music director duo Kalyanji-Anandji and penned by Rajinder Krishan. Unlike many instances where the on-screen portrayal of a song fails to do it justice, director Vijay Anand has done an excellent job to ensure that this picturization enhances the beauty of the music in the context of the film. In a nutshell, this song describes the progression of love between Kailash and Asha over time. At the beginning, Asha expresses restrained pleasure as she begins to read Kailash’s letters with a coy smile; by the end, she is so smitten by the poetry in his letters that she cannot stop daydreaming about him.

Does the love story between Kailash and Asha reach a happy conclusion? You’ll have to watch the film to find out! Even if the plot doesn’t appeal to you, there’s a particularly steamy  scene between Dharmendra and Rakhee  during “mile mile do badan” that is worth watching for the scandal factor alone.  Enjoy, and remember to send us your requests for song translations — we haven’t received one in a while!

-Mr. 55

Does anyone even write love letters like this anymore?

Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas: Lyrics and Translation

pal pal dil ke paas tum rahtii ho
You reside forever near my heart,
jiivan miiThii pyaas yah kahtii ho
And you call this life a sweet thirst.

har shaam aa.nkhon par teraa aa.nchal laharaaye
Every evening, the end of your sari flutters over my eyes. 
har raat yaado.n ki baaraat le aaye
And every night, it brings a parade of memories. 
mai.n saa.ns letaa huu.n, terii khushbuu aatii hai
With each breath, I smell your fragrance. 
ek mahkaa-mahkaa saa paighaam laatii hai
It brings along a scented message. 
mere dil kii dhaDkan bhii tere geet gaatii hai
Even my heartbeat sings a song for you. 
pal pal dil ke paas tum rahtii ho
You reside forever near my heart.

kal tujh ko dekhaa thaa, mai.ne apne aangan me.n
Yesterday, I saw you in my own courtyard. 
jaise kah rahii thii tum, mujhe baa.ndh lo bandhan me.n
It was as if you were saying, “Bind me in an eternal bond”
yah kaisaa rishtaa hai? ye kaise sapne hai.n?
What kind of bond is this? What kind of dreams are these?
begaane ho kar bhii kyo.n apne lagte hai.n? 
Despite being so foreign, why do I find them to be intimate? 
mai.n soch me.n rahtaa huu.n, Dar Dar ke kahtaa huu.n 
I remain in contemplation as I hesitatingly declare: 
pal pal dil ke paas tum rahtii ho
You reside forever near my heart. 

tum sochogii kyo.n itnaa mai.n tum se pyaar karuu.n
You might question why I love you so dearly.
tum samjhogii diivaanaa, mai.n bhii iqraar karuu.n
You might think I am crazy, and I would confess to that.
diivaano.n kii ye baate.n, diivaane jaante hai.n
Only a person crazy in love can understand the actions of another,
jalne me.n kyaa mazaa hai, parvaane jaante hai.n
And only moths understand the pleasure found in burning.
tum yuu.n hii jalaate rahnaa, aa aa kar khvaabo.n me.n
Please continue to ignite my passion as you come into my dreams.  
pal pal dil ke paas tum rahtii ho
You reside forever near my heart. 

Glossary

miiThaa: sweet; pyaas: thirst; aa.nchal: decorative end of a sari; laharaanaa: to flutter; baaraat: parade, procession; khushbuu: fragrance; mahka: scented; paighaam: message; aangan: courtyard; bandhan: bond; begaanaa: foreign, alien; Dar Dar ke: hesitaingly, fearfully; iqraar karnaa: to admit, confess; mazaa: pleasure; parvaanaa: moth;  jalaanaa: to ignite; khvaab: dream.

Dharmendra and Rakhee get cozy together in Blackmail (1973).

Hai Isi Mein Pyar Ki Abhroo Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Mala Sinha experiences the pain of rejection in Anpadh (1962) from her husband Dharmendra due to her illiteracy.

As a sequel to our previous post on “aap ki nazaro.n samjhaa,” I have provided an English translation and glossary for another memorable ghazal from Anpadh (1962): “hai isii me.n pyaar kii aabhruu.” As a quick refresher, Anpadh narrates the story of a wealthy but illiterate woman (played by Mala Sinha) who is married off to an educated gentleman (played by Dharmendra).  When Dharmendra asks Mala to recite a poem for him for her on their wedding night, she is compelled to reveal her darkest secret: her parents never taught her how to read or write.  After hearing this, Dharmendra is furious that his parents lured into arranging his marriage to an uneducated woman because of the large dowry. As he spurns Mala for her lack of education, she expresses her sadness through this song, which was composed by Madan Mohan and penned by Raja Mehndi Ali Khan.

I’ll be the first to admit that these lyrics are a tad excessive in the drama department, but this is exactly the kind of song that you need when you’re in the mood to wallow. The essence of heartache is and the pain of rejection are illustrated beautifully in these words,  so listening to a song like this can really hit the spot when you’re love-sick and need to get that sulking out of your system.  Although one can find beauty in the lyrics, it is difficult to overlook that this ghazal also carries an underlying subtext of misogyny that reflects societal attitudes of the time. Take, for instance, the mukhDaa where Mala proclaims that she finds pride in her beloved’s cruelty: “hai isii me.n pyaar kii aabhruuwah jafaa kare, mai.n vafaa karuu.n” (In this, I find the pride of love: he is cruel to me, yet I remain faithful to him).  You won’t (and shouldn’t!) find such a line sung by the heroines in the Bollywood industry today.

Even if the lyrics for this song are too much for you to handle, I am certain that you can appreciate this song for its musical value. Madan Mohan has composed an evergreen melody that tugs at your heartstrings, and Lata Mangeshkar pulls through with a winning rendition. As an aside, I thought that I would share an alternate version of this song rendered by Madan Mohan himself using a different tune.  This alternate melody was not used in the film, and I am guessing that was because it sounds too happy to suit the melancholic nature of these lyrics. Take a listen to both versions for yourself, and enjoy the translation and glossary that we have provided below! Requests for future posts, as always, should be e-mailed to themrandmrs55@gmail.com.

The intensity of Mala’s pain depicted in this song highlights the urgency of Anpadh‘s message about the need educate Indian girls.

Hai Isi Mein Pyar Ki Abhroo: Lyrics and Translation

hai isii me.n pyaar kii aabhruu
In this, I find the pride of love:
wah jafaa kare mai.n vafaa karuu.n
He is cruel to me, yet I remain faithful to him.
jo vafaa bhii kaam na aa sake
Although this love is in vain,
to wahii kahe ki mai.n kyaa karuu.n
It now dictates my actions.

mujhe gham bhii unkaa aziiz hai
Even the sadness I feel is dear to me,
ki unhii kii dii huii chiiz hai
Because it is something given to me by him.
yahii gham hai ab merii zindagii
This sadness has become my life,
ise kaise dil se judaa karuu.n?
how shall I separate it from my heart?

jo na ban sake mai.n wah baat huu.n
I am the matter that cannot be,
jo na khatm ho mai.n wah raat huu.n
And I am the night that cannot end. 
yah likhaa hai mere nasiib mein
It is written in my destiny
yuu.n hii shamma ban ke jalaa karuu.n
That I shall burn here like a candle.

na kisii ke dil kii huu.n aarzuu
I am not the desire of anyone’s heart
na kisii nazar ki huu.n justajuu
Nor am I the object of anyone’s glances.
mai.n wah phuul huu.n jo udaas ho
I am that flower which is wilted.
na bahaar aaye to kyaa karuu.n?
If the spring does not arrive, what shall I do?

hai isii me.n pyaar kii aabhruu
In this, I find the pride of love.

Glossary

aabhruu: pride; jafaa: cruelty; vafaa: loyalty, love; aziiz: dear; judaa: separate; khatm: end; nasiib: destiny, fate; shamma: candle; aarzuu: desire; justajuu: quest, search; udaas: sullen, wilted.

Kuch Dil Ne Kaha Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Sharmila Tagore shines in her restrained portrayal of Uma in Anupama (1966)

Our next translation comes from Hrishikesh Mukherji’s Anupama (1966), a poignantly crafted film that narrates the story of a father who blames his daughter for his wife’s death during childbirth.  On the request of one of our readers Himadree, we have provided the lyrics and English translation for the song “kuchh dil ne kahaa” from this film below.

Sharmila Tagore plays the role of Uma, a reticient young woman who has maintained a painful and difficult relationship with her wealthy father (played by Tarun Bose) from a young age. Because Uma’s mother died in childbirth, Uma’s father harbors feelings of resentment that prevent him from fully loving his daughter as she grows up. Uma also assumes culpability for her mother’s death, and her self-repression becomes a coping mechanism to deal with her own guilt and her father’s anger toward her.

When Uma meets the handsome and sensitive writer Ashok (played by Dharmendra), her life seems to to take a turn for the better. Yet, as the two fall in love, it becomes apparent that Uma’s  troubles have not vanished completely: her father has already arranged her marriage with another man and will never not approve of a relationship with a man of Ashok’s social status. Hrishikesh Mukherji uses this situation to provide realistic and eloquent commentary on the complex interplay between love and class in Indian society. In this context, Kaifi Azmi’s lyrics in “kuchh dil ne kahaa” truly come alive. The lyrics express the conflict that characterizes Uma’s state of mind as she faces the most challenging decision of her life: should she pursue her romance with Ashok or should she push him away to appease her father? The essence of this dilemma is captured beautifully in many lines of this song. Although her heart has become restless with love for Ashok, Uma contemplates that it may be best  to suppress these desires: “letaa hai dil angaDaaiiyaa.n, is dil ko samjhaaye koii.”  Moreover, in spite of her outer appearances, Uma’s inner turmoil is a real and painful obstacle in her life (“dil kii tasallii ke liye jhuuThii chamak jhuuThaa nikhaarjiivan to suunaa hii rahaa, sab samjhe aayii hai bahaar”).

In addition to its unique lyrics, this song is a musical masterpiece that has been cherished by Hindi film lovers over the years (though it didn’t receive its due at the time of the film’s release!). Hemant Kumar crafts a serene melody in Raga Bhimpalasi that accentuates the melancholic beauty found in both the lyrics and the natural landscape where this song is picturized. Lata Mangeshkar, as usual, is par excellence here as she emotes softly with some beautifully restrained vocals. As an interesting tidbit, you may have noticed that Lata sings this melody at a lower pitch than is expected for a Bollywood soprano. When Lata repeats the line “aisii bhii baate.n hotii hai.n” in the mukhda, she hits an A3 (komal ni in the key of B), one of the lower notes of her range recorded during this period. Enjoy our translation of this under-appreciated gem below and continue to send us your requests and other messages–we love to hear from you all!

-Mr. 55

This song was filmed in Mahabaleshwar, a scenic hill station found in the state of Maharashtra. What a stunning landscape!

Kuch Dil Ne Kaha: Lyrics and Translation

kuchh dil ne kahaa, kuchh bhii nahii.n
My heart said something; yet, it was nothing at all.
kuchh dil ne sunaa, kuchh bhii nahii.n
My heart heard something; yet, it was nothing at all.
aisii bhii baate.n hotii hai.n
Such things happen in life.

letaa hai dil angaDaaiiyaa.n, is dil ko samajhaaye koii
My heart has become restless in anticipation of him; may someone please make it stop.
armaan na aa.nkhe.n khol de.n, rusvaa na ho jaaye koii
I hope that my desires do not cause my eyes to open and bring about disgrace,
palko.n kii ThanDii sej par sapno.n ki pariyaa.n sotii hai.n
For the dream-fairies remain asleep on the cool bed of my eyelids.
aisii bhii baate.n hotii hai.n
Such things happen in life.

dil kii tasallii ke liye jhuuThii chamak jhuuThaa nikhaar
For my heart’s satisification, I have adorned myself in this false glitter and shine.
jiivan to suunaa hii rahaa, sab samajhe aayii hai bahaar
Though it remains empty, everyone assumes that spring has arrived in my life.
kaliiyo.n se koii puuchtaa, hastii hai.n yaa ve rotii hai.n
Yet, no one has bothered to ask the flowerbuds whether they are smiling or crying.
aisii bhii baate.n hotii hai.n
Such things happen in life.

kuchh dil ne kahaa, kuchh bhii nahii.n
My heart said something; yet, it was nothing at all.

Glossary

angaDaaiiyaa.n: preparation, anticipation; armaan: hope, desire; rusvaa: disgrace; palko.n: eyelids; sej: bed; pariyaa.n: faires; tasallii: satisfaction, relief; chamak: glitter; nikhaar: glow, shine; bahaar: spring.

Sharmila Tagore rocks the classic beehive hairstyle that would later become her trademark.

The ever-handsome Dharmendra plays the role of a sensitive writer in Anupama (1966)

The 15 Best Bollywood Rain Songs: Evolution of a Classic Genre

Rajesh Khanna and Rakhee Rain Song Bollywood

Rajesh Khanna and Rakhee express their sizzling love in the rain in Shehzada (1972).

It’s monsoon season again in India and, naturally, love is sparkling in the air. At last we present our list of the best rain songs from classic Bollywood! We all adore these moments–the iconic cuddling beneath an umbrella, the splashing around in a wet garden, or of course, Zeenat Aman in a drenched saari. It seems now that singing in the rain is the epitome of Bollywood romance, and a marvelous way to introduce a new song. But this phenomena did not occur overnight, and indeed, the meaning of rain itself in a film has shifted over the years with shifting cultural expectations. Let’s take a look at rain songs in Bollywood over the years!

Shree 420 Raj Kapoor Nargis Pyar Hua Iqrar Hua Rain Song Bollywood

Raj Kapoor and Nargis huddle close together beneath an umbrella in Shree 420 (1955).

We being in the earlier days of cinematic magic. As India awoke to freedom and liberty in the 1950s, so too did the country rapidly begin to shift gears away from pure agriculture and toward industrialization. Many of the best rain songs from that era embody a sense of wonder in urban environments and, matching the film censorship boards, an innocent just-got-struck-by love. In these songs, rain seems to act as that enchantment in the air–that driving force bringing a loved one into contact or sight. Rain too acted as that shimmering veil of restraint that both parties hesitate to cross. “Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si” from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958) is one of the most beloved rain songs of that era!

Raj Kapoor Dum Dum Diga Diga Chhalia

Raj Kapoor prances about the city streets singing “Dum Dum Diga Diga” from Chhalia (1960).

With the advent of the 60s, came a new meaning of being caught in a rainstorm. No longer was rain an innocent effector of love at first sight, but rather a clever and well-understood pretext for full out passion. To clarify, by passion, I mean, symbolic wet dancing that means much more than actual physical contact. The Bollywood rain songs of the 60s exude a sense of joy, independence and confidence. The onset of a rainstorm had an understood implication for overt displays of affection that both parties are eager to demonstrate. Say hello to bouffant hairdos, tight and wet salwar qameezes, and men doing some very special attempts at a courtship dance.

Shammi Kapoor Dil Tera Deewana Hai Sanam Mala Sinha

Shammi Kapoor and Mala Sinha get drenched in Dil Tera Deewana Hai Sanam (1960)

Gone were the days of “Do Bigha Zameen” style agricultural celebration! While the setting of the village recurred, rain ceased to be a blessing for economic survival–instead, it brought the blessing of love between newly liberated men and woman of a new age. Check out our translation of “O Sajna Barkha Bahar” from Parakh (1960) and listen how music directors cleverly incorporated native Indian instruments into creating the sounds and moods of rain. Indeed, the trickling melodies of sitar have graced the introductions of many a great rain sequence–even famously with Ravi Shankar’s solo for Satyajit Rai’s Aparajito!

Asha Parekh Aaya Saawan Jhoom Ke

Dressed as a village belle, Asha Parekh delights in the first rain of the season in “Aaya Sawan Jhoom Ke” (1969).

At last the 70s arrived, and the Bollywood rain song explored new territory. Yes, Zeenat Aman in a wet white saari is crossing some obvious lines and certainly deserves a mention on this list, but the rain song did not merely degenerate into a male fantasy. Instead, as the political atmosphere changed, the rain song adopted a meaning to suit its people. With government dissatisfaction in the air, rain songs were (while maintaining something of a romantic undertone), also a means of escape and hope.

Jeetendra Haye Re Haye Humjoli

Jeetendra and Leena Chandavarkar exhibit some of the strangest and wildest dance moves to date in the famous rain love song of Humjoli (1970)

Did you know in the early days of cinema, rain scenes were not actually filmed in the rain? Because of the nature of unforgiving black-and-white film stock, even heavy pounding natural rain does not appear clearly in the camera–much less the gentle puhaare of many a romantic Bollywood setting. As such, the production staff needed to literally dump buckets of water or spray dozens of hoses above the set for “rain” to actually appear so on screen! So the next time you watch these songs, just imagine the total chaos going on outside the frame among the frantic, water-pouring production assistants!

Zeenat Aman sets the rain on fire in “Haye Haye Yeh Majboori” from Shor (1972).

But enough talk. Now that you know the history, here is our list in chronological order of Bollywood’s greatest rain songs! These all-time classic give an entirely new meaning to “Singin’ in the Rain!”

The Best Rain Songs of Classic Bollywood

  1. Pyar Hua Iqrar Hua (Shree 420 – 1955)
  2. Yeh Raat Bheegi Bheegi (Chori Chori – 1956)
  3. Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhagi Si (Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi – 1958)
  4. Dil Tera Deewana Hai Sanam (Dil Tera Deewana – 1960)
  5. Dum Dum Diga Diga (Chhalia -1960)
  6. O Sajna Barkha Bahar Aayi (Parakh -1960)
  7. Rim Jhim Ke Tarane (Kala Bazaar – 1960)
  8. Zindagi Bhar Nahin Bhoolegi (Barsaat Ki Raat – 1960)
  9. Chhup Gaye Saade Nazare (Do Raaste – 1969)
  10. Aaya Saawan Jhoom Ke (Aaya Saawan Jhoom Ke – 1969)
  11. Ang Lag Ja Balma (Mera Naam Joker – 1970)
  12. Haye Re Haye (Humjoli – 1970)
  13. Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Mein (Ajnabi – 1972)
  14. Paani Re Paani (Shor – 1972)
  15. Haye Haye Yeh Majboori (Roti Kapada Aur Makaan – 1974)
Rajesh Khanna Zeenat Aman Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Mein

Rajesh Khanna cuddles Zeenat Aman to keep warm in the spicy rain song “Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Mein” in Ajnabi (1974).

And there you have it, the 15 best classic Bollywood rain songs over the ages! What are YOUR favorite rain songs from classic Bollywood–and tell us how they’ve influenced your own love stories!

– Mrs. 55

Which Actor Did Hemant Kumar Sing For Best?

Hemant Kumar (1920-1989) was a legendary Hindi and Bengali film music composer and singer.

Hemant Kumar (1920-1989) was a legendary Hindi and Bengali film music composer and singer.

In classic Bollywood cinema, playback singers could make or break the career actor. Famous actor-singer pairings are legendary. The voice of the singer became the soul of the actor and once a perfect match was made, it was hard to separate them without upheaval. Who could imagine anything but the manly voice of Kishore Kumar with the face Rajesh Khanna? Or the playful sweetness of Mohammed Rafi with fun-loving Shammi Kapoor? When Mukesh passed away, Raj Kapoor (for whose career Mukesh lent his illustrious talent) famously burst into tears and announced, “I have lost my voice.”

But occasionally we find a rogue player in Hindi film music. Hemant Kumar stands out as a unique character, a difficult man to place in the rankings. For he was not merely a singer, but a legendary music director as well in both Hindi and Bengali cinema. Hemant Kumar was heavily influenced by Rabindrasangeet (like his contemporary S.D. Burman!), and first broke into the Bengali industry as a music director in 1947, the year of Indian independence. Hemant Kumar’s unmatched virtuosity led him to not only sing many of the hit songs of the 50s and 60s in Bombay himself, but he actually formed his own production company that made classics such as Bees Saal Baad (1962), Kohra (1964), and Khamoshi (1969). In the 70s he even dabbled as a film director with moderate success.

Hemant Kumar recording a song with Lata Mangeshkar

Hemant Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar during the studio recording of “Nain So Nain” from Janak Janak Paayal Baaje (1955).

But for me, it was as a singer that Hemant Kumar always shines and also the category in which history has given him the shaft. His voice was absolutely unlike any other in the industry–a deep and soulful richness that no one could touch. Interestingly, for a man whose talents were so diverse, Hemant Kumar never took to acting and singing his own songs on screen (à la Kishore Kumar). Instead, he sang for a myriad of rising and great actors across the decades–never branding himself with a single artist. Hemant Kumar remained a maverick, and for it, is often brushed aside.

So I now pose to you the question–which actor do YOU think Hemant Kumar sang for best? His voice graced the images of many men, but did it work for all of them? Your contestants are Guru Dutt, Dharmendra, Biswajeet, Dev Anand, and Shammi Kapoor. We present five songs below that illustrate some of Hemant Kumar’s finest collaborations with these actors and the cinematic chemistry that ensued.

1. Guru Dutt: Jaane Woh Kaise

The voice of tragedy, Hemant Kumar sings for Guru Dutt in this timeless lament from Pyaasa (1957). Guru Dutt, who often played the tragic poet, seems a natural choice for the resonant tones of Hemant Kumar in this song that has become iconic for all awkward dinner party songs.

2. Dharmendra: Tum Pukar Lo

Discussed in a previous post, Khamoshi (1968) is a heart-wrenching film about love, loss, and insanity. Although you don’t see much of Dharmendra’s face in this sequence, his subtle performance matches the song’s patient yearning with a hint of a Western flair. But to me, as an actor Dharmendra is somehow too shallow to be worthy of a Hemant Kumar solo. Maybe that’s just me?

3. Biswajeet: Yeh Nayan Dare Dare

A tender sequence from the film Kohra (1964), this song embodies the sweet side to Hemant’s voice that comes in the middle of a spooky film noir. I’m not going to pretend that Biswajeet is anything but a joke, but for me this pairing works–Hemant’s sweet vocals and Biswajeet’s confident, but appeasing motions to Waheeda are a pleasing combination.

4. Dev Anand: Yeh Raat Yeh Chaandni Phir Kahaan

God, I love it. I’ll be the first to tell you that no one sang better for Dev Anand than Mohammed Rafi, but this song is something else. I’ve discussed this sequence already in our earlier translation of the song, but let me just repeat that Hemant Kumar in a seductive mood blends beautifully with that longing gaze of Dev Anand’s. It’s just so exciting and rare, not to mention compliments Dev Anand’s semi-gravely voice in this film.

5. Shammi Kapoor: Aye Dil Ab Kahin Lejaa

This is another beautiful Hemant Kumar tragedy with a touch of mystery. Shammi is clearly giving it his all in this song, but somehow, I think it just doesn’t come together. Shammi Kapoor is too much of a hot mess for me to believe anything but Mohammed Rafi coming out of his mouth–the resonant voice of Hemant seems incongruous with those histrionics, despite its unarguable beauty.

And the winner is…?

I’m gonna have to say Guru Dutt–that song is just sublime on every level, but I’m open to discussion. Who do you think matched Hemant Kumar’s voice best? Let us know YOUR opinion in the comments!

-Mrs. 55

P.S. Wondering why we didn’t mention female playback singers here? It’s because the female side of things worked very differently, ie., it was Lata and Asha or bust. Every actress had them, and with the occasional Geeta Dutt or Shamshad interlude, there was no room for a “signature” playback artist per actress (although Lata will argue she “changed” her voice depending on the actress–more on this to come!)